It looks like local pharmacies like Costco and Rite Aid will soon find their stores brimming with a cancer treatment vaccine much like a regular flu shot.
While there is more work to be done, a group of doctors from the state of Texas is already given the green light to test their “cancer vaccine” on humans. Dr. Maurizio Ghisoli of the Texas Oncology group shares that the vaccine may help change a fatal disease to something chronic so that it can be treated better.
“We don’t cure but we can control the disease,” Dr. Ghisoli explains.
How the Research Began
It was Dr. John Neumunaitis who started the study about 20 years ago. The physician is positive that their dream can be a reality. When asked if the cancer shot can be comparable to a regular flu shot, he joyfully stated that in a way, the cancer vaccine may work like that.
“It identifies the cancer where previously it can and in a way, flu shots work like that. It can certainly change the immune system,” Dr. Neumanaitis shared.
Dr. Ghisoli and Dr. Neumanaitis are both oncologists at Baylor Hospital. Here, they have decided to set up an experimental treatment for people are stricken with cancer, just like 15-year-old Carly Rutledge. She has a condition called “Ewings Sarcoma”. It a type of bone cancer that can spread as quickly as wildfire in the body.
How it Works
Baylor Hospital was given the go signal by the Food and Drug Administration to start its initial phase of immunotherapy treatment on cancers similar to Rutledge’s condition. Both doctors feel that it is not only a victory for the hospital but an extraordinary opportunity for the oncology world.
The immunotherapy is given as a monthly shot, reminiscent of a regular flu jab. The vaccine is a customized concoction taken from the cells of the patient’s tumor. It is administered to bring back genes to the body to fight the cancer and help make the immune system stronger.
So far, the hospital is the only place in the entire world that offers the cancer shot therapy. The Mary Crowley Cancer Center is often crowded with families flying from different parts of the world to get their sick loved ones vaccinated.
Living Proof That the Cancer Vaccine Works
Rutledge is currently in remission and experiencing no side effects. She is now a college student and because of her, the cancer center is nearing FDA nod.
Besides her, Dr. Neumunaitis recalls his first patient. His name is Grover Cummings and he was diagnosed with cancer twenty years ago, the same time the doctor started his research. Cummings received the bad news a few months before his daughter’s wedding.
Like any desperate father, Cummings wanted to live longer to see that moment for himself. Miraculously, he did and today, he is cancer free and enjoying his free time with his 16-year-old granddaughter.
More people are getting wind of the vaccine and would do anything just to get the treatment they are hoping for, even if it meant flying 20,000 miles from Europe.
This is the case of the Baron Family, who brought along their cancer-ridden son all the way from Italy. The family shares that there is no promising treatment in Europe and Dallas is their only hope.
With stories like these, the doctors in the Mary Crowley Cancer Center at Baylor Hospital know that it will only take about four to five years before the FDA final approves the cancer vaccine. Even if it remains to be part of the clinical trials, they are all positive that the cancer vaccine may be the hope the future generation is waiting for.